Sensei Joe executes a throw showing zanshin

About Us

our story

The Shudokan, founded in 1980, has a proud history as the first Yoshinkan style Aikido dojo in Australia and is headed by Joe Thambu Shihan (8th Dan), who is world renowned for his Aikido and teaching prowess.


Thamby Rajah Sensei was the first Malaysian blackbelt in judo and aikido. He continued to teach into his 80s from his dojo in Seremban, Malaysia. This pioneering and enduring spirit persists with his nephew Joe Thambu Shuseki Shihan who at age 11 began learning from his uncle.

Why set up the Dojo?

It takes resilience to establish and keep a dedicated dojo running for over forty years when flying kicks are the popular thing and a “gentle” form of self-defence such as Aikido was basically unknown. Covid shutdowns in Victoria almost destroyed contact-based enterprises, and yet he persisted. Driven by his passion and standards for the art, Joe Thambu Sensei established the first Yoshinkan Aikido school on St Georges Road, Thornbury in Australia in 1980. Today there is the headquarters at 43 Crissane Road, Heidelberg and for the southern suburbs of Victoria, the Mulgrave dojo at 27 Rupert Drive, Mulgrave.

International accolades for Yoshinkan Aikido and its Sensei

It is this passion and selfless sense of giving back, that drives Thambu Sensei to disseminate Aikido and its development around the globe. He has been invited to instruct in the United Kingdom, Poland, Indonesia, Canada and Malaysia and has won much acclaim wherever he goes.

How effective is Aikido?

One will not find peace and harmony in a place of flowing alcohol and strutting testosterone in party mode. To spend 6 years providing nightclub security in his early 20s, weighing 58 kg speaks volumes about Joe Thambu Sensei’s ability to deal with confrontation whether it be to manhandle or de-escalate.

What sets this dojo apart?

This is a dojo based on tradition, and budo is often witnessed in instructors and students alike. This underlying philosophy and principle inform its culture. Coupled with the strong bond and commitment of our community, relationships have been formed and thrive through the course of time whereby many students from the past (some of whom were children at the time) have returned as adults and with their own children.

Is this martial art suitable for everyone?

From a physical standpoint – yes, owing to its use of leverage, biomechanics and redirection of energy anyone can undertake this art. You are welcome to call in to give it a try and see if it is right for you.

Sensei Joe Aikiken


Aikido Shudokan founded by Joe Thambu Shihan

Learning movement in children's class


The first premises was established in 1983 on St Georges Road, Thornbury

Children's grading Hirriki no Yosei


Moved to a larger premises on Gooch Street

Aikiken during Kyu Grading


The Shudokan created a purpose-built dojo in todays location of Heidelberg West. All the dojo have been built and rennovated by Instructors and students throughout the years, and everyone continues to respectfully maintain the environment in which they learn.

Aikido Shudokan Logo (white transparent small)
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